The residents inside the Kingdom placed their hands on weapons and started to push back the beasts, killing them or casing them away from inside the fortress with quick steps and brutal strikes.
“… Alright! Who said that we have no more defensive units?!”
A player roared out shocked and dumbfounded by the sight of seeing desperate wolves and demonic beats, trying to get away from inside the fortress, trying to kill the wolf disguised as a sheep.
“… Who would have thought? Children of today are the brave men of tomorrow.”
An old man said with a smile after seeing little girls and boys wielding kitchen knives or iron rods with such ferocity.
“Yeah… let’s not forget about our wives. I’m extremely proud of having such a strong woman.”
A fox man said with a smile after seeing his wife punching out a bear-type demonic beast down the walls.
“Hahaha~! That’s my kitten!”
His wife was a wildcat-woman whom he met after Ryu came back with the sex-slaves, also being one of the victims.
“The combat classes are more useful than I thought. We will need to give more attention in the future.”
Everyone resumed their fighting and tried to give more attention to defense this time. Half the warriors remained at the peak of the mountains while the other half stood down and killed the stronger beasts.
“New wave incoming!”
A Wolf beast-man shouted with resolution as his heart steeled for the worst.
Today we shall die!
“Prepare! For DEATH!” → Bernard
Bernard’s and everyone else’s life essence started to burn as everyone’s veins bulge and their auras shook the heavens. Blood dripped down their orifices as they tried to summon powers past their limits. They prepared for the wave to unite with the one they were still fighting against when something completely out of everyone’s expectations happened:
A huge flying Lightning Tiger bit hard on the neck of a Yeti, both of rank S.
Everyone was shocked by the view, unable to even let out a sound.
More and more beasts appeared and started to attack the front wave, killing and massacring the ones around them in a frenzy.
“W-what is happening? Have they gone insane?”
A warrior asked completely confused.
“I do not know… But this is the best outcome! Everyone! Retreat! Let them kill each other!” → Gregor
Gregor shouted and started to climb the cliff with some difficulty, using only his one arm.
“Come here~.” → Lissa
Lissa saw him struggling so he hugged him and flew on top of the cliff where they both saw the massacre and carnage in front.
“W-what is happening?!”
As far as he could see, beast fought another beast, splashing blood and raising dust everywhere, be it from far away in the undamaged forest, or on the clear area where the huge asteroid hit the first time.
“I don’t know why this is happening, but I wish it won’t end until their numbers at least halves.” → Bernard
Bernard said with a serious face.
“… Let it be for a longer period of time than that…” → Gerome
Gerome said while barely breathing. His bloody body trembled from tiredness while his muscles and bones felt like breaking down. However, what he felt would collapse at any time now, was his heart which bled only from sadness, barely feeling the physical sufferings. In his hands, a bloody staff was held with shaking hands as his always-smiling face was now replaced by one filled with agony and grief.
This pain… is too much for an old man like myself… To feel it once again… Oh, how I wish to rest… Forever… → Gerome
His eyes lost all the shine while his body looked like that of a weak old man.
Bernard saw him and stared confused at Gerome, only to see the bloody staff in his hands.
Ah… How unfair can the heavens be with a poor old man… May she rest in peace and gaze upon him from her throne in Heaven. → Bernard
He said while looking at the sky which was covered in dust and dark clouds. His eyes filled with the resolution to bring his men home and help them get over the pain.
Everyone stood on top of the mountain chain, looking at the beast how they devoured each other in cold blood. After more than six hours, the beasts that remained still numbered in more than ten thousand, but they only glanced at the surviving warriors then retreated, leaving nothing but carnage behind.
“Is it… done?”
A player asked with incertitude, hardly pressed of believing that he was actually still alive.
“No way… how are we still alive then?”
Another player asked with huge eyes, feeling exactly the same way.
“It might be a dream… no, it’s no dream.”
A young warrior said while pinching himself. After feeling the pain he was sure that he was awake.
“… Something is coming.” → Bernard
Bernard looked in the distance and saw a huge dragon flying toward them, everyone’s eyes opening wide in shock and terror.
“S***! Now, this is bad!” → Gregor
Gregor cursed and felt his back run cold.
No matter how many we are, we can’t go against a dragon! → Gregor
“What rotten luck… And right when we thought that everything has ended.” → Sofia
Sofia shakes her head in despair.
The dragon reached near the mountains and opened his jaw but with no killing intent or domineering aura pressuring the warriors. To everyone’s surprise, he wasn’t trying to use a breath but only wished to talk.
[Are you friends with the young black dragon?]
The red dragon with bloody injuries and with not an arm asked seriously.
“Black? Are you referring to Ryu?” → Gerome
Gregor asked out of reflex after hearing the question, making even Lissa and Bernard look at him baffled after hearing him talk so casually with a dragon.
[So you are. Good.]
The dragon let out a breath of relief then got closer, landing on a mountain peak ride beside theirs.
Nobody expected such a development. They expected the dragon to wipe them all out, but in exchange, he sat atop a mountain right beside them and placed something down with care.
[When he has the time, tell him to contact me telepathically. I will send him the spoils of war afterward.]
The red dragon said then took flight and left them together with the wave of beasts, going toward Eihwaz by bypassing the Antara Kingdom.
“W-what did he place down? It looks like a person.” → Sofia
Sofia asked with a surprised voice after seeing the dragon fly like the wind.
“Hmmm…! It’s our king?!” → Bernard
Bernard rushed forward and verified if Ryu was still alive.
“W-what?! Ryu?! Is he alive!?” → Gregor
Gregor and the others rushed toward him with concern. Everyone was agitated.
“… He’s alive, but the injuries he sustained are deeper than we can think.” → Bernard
Bernard said with a frown as he verified the deep wounds and the ugly claw-mark around his ribcage.
“Everyone! The fight is over! I cannot say if we won or lost when our king is in such a state! Let’s retreat and carry for injuries! When his highness wakes up, we will be able to call ourselves victors and survivors of a calamity-class wave!” → Bernard
Bernard roared as he organized everyone to return back home.
They all answered back and returned toward the fortress with staggering steps, needing one another to support each other.
The next day after everyone returned and tried to heal themselves, Bonny and two hooded people reached a little desert with a pool of lava in the middle. If one looked closer, they would see fallen trees under the brown ashes and sand that covered the entire field.
“What happened here…?”
The dragoon girl stepped forward with a worried and confused expression on. She revealed her face, showing a beautiful white skin with two shining blue eyes. At the moment her eyes shone with worry while a frown was visible between them.
Is this really the right way? I don’t remember going through any desert before.
“….Tara, we need to hurry. Enchant Sir Khalid’s speed and let’s go.” → Bonny
Bonny said in a hurry then rushed her steps toward the kingdom.
The three of them rushed even faster than before, flying through the desert then through the forests. While keeping on going, they saw trails of fights all around inside the forest. The trails were going the same direction they had to take for reaching home.
All three of them were surprised to see such a scene. Corpses of demonic beasts were left to rot inside the forest, looking as if hell broke out on these parts of the continent. They ran and jumped over the corpses until they reached a point where they had to steep on them because corpses of demonic beasts were the only thing visible as far as 500 meters in front.
The three of them stopped and looked with shock and anxiety in their eyes. Only Khalid had the same almost lifeless and indifferent eyes, looking coldly at his surroundings.
“War?“ → Khalid
He asked with a hushed tone, simply out of curiosity.
“… Most probably, another wave hit from these parts… but these proportions are tens of times more than what we would normally encounter… Maybe even hundreds…” → Bonny
Bonny said with a dark face then she continued forward.
“Let’s go.” → Bonny
The three of them continued to run with more haste, looking at the carnage left behind left and right. The huge trees were crushed or cut in two, the huge boulders were broken with claw marks on them, and most of all, everywhere one would look at, red blood was the most visible color, in some places still dripping from different beasts that were launched and died in trees. The strong smell was insupportable, almost toxic, making Bonny create a barrier around the three of them to make the red miasma stay away from them.
After they reached the base of the mountains chain where everyone had to fight, Bonny and Tara froze in place, Tara already feeling like throwing up.
“…War…” → Khalid
Khalid said in a firm tone this time. His lifeless eyes shone with hatred for a second, then turned back to the same indifference.
“T-this… have they fought here?” → Tara
Tara could barely bear to look at the chain of mountains in front of her.
The walls of the mountains have been turned into a fortress full with stone spears and spikes while the mountain wall has been molded to be more steep and smooth. But what shocked them wasn’t the transformation of the mountain’s peaks, but the brownish red color it had from all the blood that has been shed, in some places still flowing like a little river.
The mountain’s walls were completely covered in blood while the fortress’s spikes and spears had at least one beast impaled, still stuck on the wall. The image was like out from a horror movie.
“I see no resident of our kingdom here! Think they survived?” → Tara
Tara said with hope in her voice.
Bonny said nothing. But Khalid opened his mouth.
“Either that, either they were completely eaten.” → Khalid
His cold voice made even Bonny feel cold all over. She then thought of Ryu and calmed down.
“They survived.” → Bonny
Bonny said with certitude.
“My Ryu was with them, I am sure they are still alive.” → Bonny
Khalid looked with indifference but said nothing.
It doesn’t matter to me. My end will be the same either way. → Khalid
They moved out once again and finally reached the fortress. On top of the walls, one patrolling warrior with a missing eye and broken arm saw them getting closer. After recognizing Bonny, he hastily left to report.
When they finally returned they saw outside and inside the fortress huge claw-marks all over the walls, buildings and especially on the ground.
“My Queen! You returned!” → Bernard
Bernard bowed down together with another group of 10 warriors.
“Bonny. You finally came back. Oh! Tara, it seems you’re fine, good. Everyone was worried.” → Gregor
Gregor said with a smile.
Both of them stared at Bernard, Gregor and at the warriors with bitter faces.
Bernard lost an eye and his entire body was burnt, full with cuts. The warriors behind him had at least five broken bones while two of them had one arm missing, full in cuts and bite marks. Even Gregor wasn’t sparred. Over the injuries he already had, more has stacked on his body, making him a mess together with an ugly hole that was slowly healing on his shoulder.
“W-why… Uuuuhhf~” → Bernard
Tara started crying as she observed the tired faces of everyone who welcomed them. She wasn’t able to see the people she loved covered in injuries and pain.
“Everyone, I’m so –sob sorry for not being here to help! –sob.” → Tara
She rushed forward and hugged Bernard and Gregor, then the warriors behind them as she cried out non-stop.
“Woahahaha~! Little angel, there is no need to cry for us. After the fight we had, everyone feels like partying day and night! Even the ones who can’t walk, they almost feel like dancing! Wahahaha~!”
A bear-man warrior patted Tara’s head and laughed together with the other warriors. Even though their hearts were bleeding from the loss they suffered, they still had to party even for the deceased so they can honor their heroic death.
“We might have sustained some losses, but the fact that we were able to protect this place that we worked so hard for, makes everyone feel that it was worth it. I’m sure that even the ones who left us are smiling for our victory up in havens!” → Bernard
Bernard said with a wide grin as he grit his fist, still unable to believe that he’s still alive.
“It’s as he said. Now, please stop crying and let’s go inside. We filled the deposit only with A and S ranked meat. With the dog and pig-men cooking skills, everyone is preparing for a feast.” → Gregor
Gregor said while leading everyone towards the cafeteria. As they walked, he was able to see the worried expression on Bonny’s face and explained with a hush.
“Ryu is alive so do not worry over him. Right now he’s sleeping and recovering from his fights. Even though he has all his limbs still attached to his body, I can say that he sustained the most damage from us all.” → Gregor
Gregor said with some admiration. When Gregor first examined Ryu, he wondered how in the end he was still alive. It was almost the same with the time he fully transformed into a dragon, almost all his muscles ruptured while some bones cracked, what was more worrying were his overstretched meridians that were close to completely shattering.
Even so, what came after that left me with no words. → Gregor
Gregor shook his head, still unbelieving of what he saw. When Gregor placed Ryu inside his office, laying him down on his bed, he left the Soul Seers and Energy Fighters to heal his injuries, these two classes having the best healing abilities. While this happened, Ryu’s body started to change little by little but still visible enough to see with the naked eye that made even the ones who healed him to shout in shock. His body started to grow in proportions, two black and sharp horns sprouted from his forehead, his skin turned a little bit darker while his nails longer and sharper, looking as if he could cut through wood and stone with them.
“Well, you will see him soon. What about you? What happened to make Miss Tara be late for close to a week?” → Gregor
“… The guards were more numerous and powerful than we thought. The risk of being captured and tortured was anything but small.” → Bonny
“And what about the sudden connection loss?” → Gregor
“There was a barrier around the prison which interfered with any telepathic connections. Because of the place being tightly guarded she had no freedom to leave and send a report.” → Bonny
“But how did she release him?” → Gregor
Gregor kept on asking while they walked toward the cafeteria. The warriors and Bernard listened carefully from behind while Tara was watching Khalid in case he collapsed again from anemia.
“…You won’t believe it…” → Bonny
Bonny said while looking back at Khalid. His lifeless and cold eyes made her feel sorrowful for him.
“…Tara had no possibility of reaching Khalid when she arrived at the prison. He was locked down inside an underground room and guarded by the Urius Kingdom’s elites. Because he refused to create weapons for the Urius King, he was locked down and made into a test experiment for mind-control magic. Because he already evaded a few times with the help of his friends, the guards grew in numbers and in power, making it now close to impossible to escape…” → Bonny
“T-then how?” → Gregor
Gregor was even more shocked to hear that so he continued asking.
Mind controlling? What madness is this? How can they start such atrocious experiments on people? → Gregor
“Sigh…Khalid said that he made a bet with the high pope. He won’t escape the prison if his friends were spared, while the pope promised to not threaten his friends as a way to make him create weapons for the kingdom. Khalid was able to make the pope promise such a thing after threatening him with suiciding… Even the pope was able to see that such a talent to create powerful weapons was incredibly rare. After a while, Khalid heard one of the guards talk about how the last attempt of his friends to free him ended in failure and all of them were executed. After hearing the news, he created a way to get out of the prison but found out that he had nowhere to return to. He chose to remain in prison and meet his demise, until he detected Tara who tried to infiltrate inside the prison. After finding out that she wanted to free him, he then made a bet with her. He will let her take him away and show her no matter what kingdom there is, they will force him to create weapons meant for wars, something that he’d rather die than to do. If he was proven true, Tara will have to kill him, and if he was proven wrong, he will try to accomplish three of her wishes, no matter the difficulty.” → Bonny
Bonny said with a complicated face.
He was basically throwing his life away… What is he trying? → Gregor
“…This child has gone through a lot… Sigh~.” → Gregor
Gregor and Bernard looked at Khalid and saw his empty eyes, making them both shake their heads in sadness.
“Hey Khalid, aren’t you hungry? Let’s go eat something, okay?” → Tara
Tara asked while trying to seem as bright as possible.
Tara felt grievance every time she talked with Khalid. The thoughts of having to kill him made her hands shake. She hated killing even beasts, let alone from the four races, she simply couldn’t bring herself to do so.
“I’m fine.” → Khalid
Khalid didn’t say that because of enmity for Tara, but because he simply couldn’t feel hunger, tiredness, pain or any other feeling, be it emotional or physical. He was numb and he felt the idea of living as worthless suffering.